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Tag: U.S. Attorneys Office

Ex-DEA Spokesman Pleads Guilty to Posing As CIA Operative in Elaborate $4 Million Fraud Scheme

Garrison Courtney

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former DEA spokesman is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to posing as an undercover CIA operative to defraud government contractors out of more than $4 million.

Garrison Kenneth Courtney, who served as a DEA spokesman between 2005 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old Florida resident posed as a covert CIA officer serving on a highly classified task force, whose mission was to enhance the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government.

No such task force existed, and Courtney had never worked for the CIA, prosecutors said.

“Courtney went to extraordinary lengths to perpetuate the illusion that he was a deep-cover operative. Among other things, he falsely claimed that his identity and large portions of his conduct were classified; directed victims and witnesses to sign fake nondisclosure agreements that purported to be from the United States government and that forbade anyone involved from speaking openly about the supposedly classified program; told victims and witnesses that they were under surveillance by hostile foreign intelligence services; made a show of searching people for electronic devices as part of his supposed counterintelligence methods; demanded that his victims meet in sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) to create the illusion that they were participating in a classified intelligence operation; and repeatedly threatened anyone who questioned his legitimacy with revocation of their security clearance and criminal prosecution if they ‘leaked’ or continued to look into the supposedly classified information,” federal prosecutors said in a news release. “Courtney further created fake letters, purporting to have been issued by the Attorney General of the United States, which claimed to grant blanket immunity to those who participated in the supposedly classified program.”

As part of the scheme, Courtney convinced several public officials that he was a CIA operative and told them they had been chosen to participate in the program, using “those officials as unwitting props falsely to burnish his legitimacy,” prosecutors said. The government officials unwittingly repeated those claims to the companies, giving his scheme an air of legitimacy.

The investigation was carried out by multiple law enforcement agencies.

DEA, Other Feds Join Investigation of Prince’s Untimely Death

Prince, via Wikipedia.

Prince, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and other federal authorities are investigating the death of pop superstar Prince.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that it and the DEA would help with the local investigation of the April 21 death, Time reports. 

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA are joining the Carver County Sheriff’s investigation. The DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office are able to augment this local investigation with federal resources and expertise about prescription drug diversion. While this remains an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment.”

Reports have suggested that Prince was in possession of painkillers, but it wasn’t confirmed whether the medication was a factor in his death. 

Boston Fed Prosecutor Admits Withholding Evidence: Judge Says He Sees Pattern in the U.S. Atty’s Office

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Maybe we’re just noticing this problem more since the Justice Department moved to void the conviction of ex-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. But it seems to be popping up a lot all around the country as of late. In this case, the federal judge said he saw a pattern of this in the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office. If true, the problem could open the doors to more successful appeals by criminals.

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe
BOSTON — A federal prosecutor acknowledged yesterday that she withheld evidence that could have helped clear a defendant in a gun case but said it was an inadvertent mistake and implored the chief judge of the US District Court in Massachusetts not to impose sanctions that could derail her career.

“It is my mistake. . . . It rests on my shoulders,” a composed Suzanne Sullivan, assistant US attorney, told Judge Mark L. Wolf in a dramatic hearing in Boston that lasted more than two hours. “I also ask the court to give me the opportunity to rebuild my reputation.”

But Wolf said he was considering several sanctions because he was so appalled by Sullivan’s lapse and by what he characterized as a pattern of prosecutors in the US attorney’s office withholding evidence.

The potential sanctions ranged from fining her – which prosecutors said no federal judge in the country has done for a lapse of Sullivan’s type – to an order that she and perhaps all 90 criminal prosecutors in the office undergo additional training about their constitutional duty to share such evidence with defendants.

“It’s unpardonable, and if I don’t find it deliberate, I find it’s at least ignorance and reckless disregard,” he said at the hearing at which he also criticized as ineffectual the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

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